Are you looking for a non-toy gift idea your kids will love? Today, I’m going to share the best non-toy gift idea for kids of all ages and it will not break the bank. Spoiler alert, it’s a photo book!
In fact, EVERYONE loves them! We’ve given one to each of our six grand Littles for the last three years, and after all the gifts are opened, we sit back and watch as each book is passed around for everyone to look at.
In this post, I’ll tell you why these little photo books are the perfect gift for kids and share my favorite app for creating these fun little albums.
WHY PHOTOBOOKS ARE THE BEST NON-TOY GIFT IDEA FOR KIDS
I got the idea after my daughter-in-law made a small photo book for mother’s day, and every time one of my grandsons came over, he would grab it and find the photos of himself. The look on his face was priceless.
It got me thinking that unlike when we were kids and could grab a photo album to look at pictures any time we wanted, most of the photos of our kids today are on an adult’s smartphone. And, of course, we don’t always want them handling our phones.
Photos are our memories. Think about it, often, when you are reminiscing about an event or moment in your life, you remember it, but you’re visualizing that moment captured in a photo.
So, by gifting them a “photo album,” you’re handing your kids a lifetime of cherished memories they will love now and later.
This is not a sponsored post; I just love this app. However, this post contains affiliate links, and I make a commission if you purchase at no extra cost for you.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
I use the Chatbooks app because it makes it easy to create an album directly on your phone. It’s an easy process, but I thought I’d give you a few pointers so you can easily create one today.
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HOW TO USE THE CHATBOOKS APP
ORGANIZE – My first, and I think the most important suggestion is to create separate albums for each child in your phone’s photo app. I suggest doing this by year, starting new albums at the beginning of the year, and adding photos monthly. But I don’t follow my advice, and I’m usually cramming, trying to get them all created to either catch the sales or beat shipping deadlines. Maybe this next year I’ll be more prepared! 😉
KEEP SCROLLING IF YOU PREFER A PICTURE TUTORIAL…
QUICK TIPS FOR CREATING A CHATBOOK
Open the app and click on “CLASSIC PHOTO BOOKS, starting at $15“. Then click “CREATE.”
Choose the book size, cover type, and color. (I make 6” X 6” books.) Then click CREATE again. If you plan on giving this year after year, keep the size consistent so they will stack like encyclopedias on a shelf.
UPLOAD those photos. This is where those albums come in handy. I select one kids’ album and click, SELECT ALL, and bam… they’re in the album.
CUSTOMIZE your photo book. This is where I forget the little nuances of the app, year after year, so I thought it might help to give you some pointers.
FORMAT YOUR COVER – Once your photos are uploaded, you will want to name your album and choose a cover photo and format. The pencil icon on the cover will allow you to change the format.
PHOTO LAYOUT – From here, you may want to change the layout of your photos. You can do that by clicking on the individual photo to give each page its unique layout or if you’d like every page to have a border around the photo, click the SETTINGS tab under the title, and it will allow you to change the layout of the book. (see photos below)
I vary the type of pages to include individual and collage pages not only to keep it interesting but because I upload anywhere from 60 to 90 photos per kid, and you are charged by the page. We take lots of pictures of our beautiful boys.
FORMAT THE COVER
FORMAT THE PHOTOS
CONVERT PAGE TO COLLAGE
CAPTIONS MAKE IT SPECIAL
An extra step that takes these books over the top is the captions. Sometimes I create a story about their year that loosely follows the photos. This year I was cramming, remember, so I wasn’t so creative with each book. However, for some of the boys, instead of captions, I wrote them a little letter by selecting the “+” sign to add a page and selecting TEXT ONLY.
Keep in mind the books I make are small, so to keep the print from being too small, I added the text over a couple of pages.
HOW MUCH DOES A CHATBOOK COST?
These photo books start at $15, but I probably spend an average of $28 per photo book. Ultimately, this is such a great non-toy gift for kids that I think it’s one of the best gifts we could give them.
Chatbooks will run sales from time to time, especially around CYBER WEEK. But if you want one for this Christmas, you’ll have to pay full price and watch shipping deadlines.
Right now, the code HOHOHO is still working to get 20% off your order!
However, if not, you can use this link and then use my code at checkout to get $10 off your order: PaulaHolloway-CUNJ
HAVE YOU EVER GIVEN A PHOTOBOOK TO A CHILD?
If you’ve never given a photobook to a child, you’re missing out on seeing the joy in their eyes. My adult children tell me that my Littles pull these out throughout the year and look at them and read the captions.
I hope this helped give you a non-toy gift idea for the kids in your life and has helped you put it together in no time at all.
Wonderful Idea. Thanks!
Oh I’m I’m glad you it Susann. I hope you found it helpful too.
Fantastic idea!! Thank you so much, Paula! When I look around my gkids’ house and see so many toys everywhere, I often think “they need nothing for Christmas, so what can I get them??” A photo book would be perfect! In saying all kids love to look at themselves in pictures, you’ve hit the nail on the head. As soon as the 4 year old twins have a picture taken on my phone, they want to look at it immediately! And the 12 year old girl adores looking at all the pics on my phone, especially of her when she was little. I can see this idea coming to fruition!!
Thank you again, Paula! And blessings to you and all yours!
What a great idea!!! I guess I never thought of doing a quick book for each of them. I do scrapbooking but this would be much quicker! I’m not sure I’d be able to get mine done in time for this year, but I’ll definitely save this idea for next year!!
I so agree! I make photo books for my family. And we all enjoy looking at them. My fav company is shutterfly. I make small books to big. I will have to try out this company you are recommending. Memories are so important to remember.
Yes, the book my DIL made me was from Shutterfly. I tried it, along with Snapfish (I used to use them for all my photo printing) but I found both confusing for photo books if I hadn’t already uploaded all the photos to their online platforms. The nice thing about Chatbooks is that you just upload to the book you’re working on. I’m sure it’s a preference thing though and you like what you’re used to using.
I cannot tell you how much I love this idea. Christmas has been bought, but I am going to do this for all their birthdays!
I’m glad you liked it. This year we’ve scaled back on gifts. We got each family of boys a laser tag set, they get Christmas Jammie’s, and the photo books. We also plan on playing some games and I think the hubs told me there was one where they can win money so they’ll like that.
Hugs to you!